This book is set in aristocratic circles in the fifteenth century. For that reason there is a great deal of mediaeval English. However, most of the unusual words are explained as they occur, so there is no problem with comprehension. The last chapter is headed "Historical Appendix", and contains potted lives of most of the people whom we meet in the book, since the majority of them really existed. Of course the detail of the conversations in the book is made up, but we can well believe that something very like them might well have happened. What is very evident is that many of these people were plotters, the object of their desires being in some way to increase their own wealth or status. Even small children may be imprisoned and murdered, as we remember from the sad tale of "the Princes in the Tower".
If you are fond of reading historical novels, and are familiar with the general history of the fifteenth century, you will enjoy this view of the lives of the figures that made that history.
Emily Sarah Holt, 1836 to 1893.
There doesn't seem to be much information easily available about Emily Sarah Holt. She is not mentioned in "The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature". She wrote about fifty books, mainly for children, and published over a rather short period of her life. Most of her books could be classified as Historical Novels.
I have an impression from snatches I have read that she lived in a rather upper middle class part of London, which we would call today "South Kensington". It may be significant that she died in 1893 for there was a major flu epidemic that year, which lasted a couple of years after that.
Somebody wrote recently that second-hand copies of her books in good condition are in short supply because her readers, a hundred years ago and more, so much loved reading their copies that they "read them to bits". This may be a bookseller's hype, but there must be a grain of truth in it. It may well also be true of all the authors we present on, or in conjunction with, the Athelstane website.
A PDF of scans and an HTML version of this book are provided. We also provide a plain TEXT version and full instructions for using this to make your own audiobook. To find these click on the PDF, HTML or TXT links on the left.
These transcriptions of books by various nineteenth century authors of instructive books for teenagers, were made during the period 1997 to the present day by Athelstane e-Books. Most of the books are concerned with the sea, but in any case all will give a good idea of life in the nineteenth century, and sometimes earlier than that. This of course includes attitudes prevalent at the time, but frowned upon nowadays.
We used a Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner to scan the pages. We then made a pdf which we used to assist with editing the OCRed text.
To make a text version we used ABBYY Finereader 8 to produce a first draft of the text, and Athelstane software to find misreads and improve the text. We proof-read the chapters, and then made a CD with the book read aloud by either Fonix ISpeak or TextAloud MP3. The last step enables us to hear and correct most of the errors that may have been missed by the other steps, as well as entertaining us during the work of transcription.
The resulting text can be read either here at the Internet Archive or at www.athelstane.co.uk
The text version we present here has been optimised to be read with yBook.